Background: There are no published studies of hospitalist comanagement of pediatric surgical patients.
Objectives: (1) To describe comanagement activities; (2) to determine the association of hospitalist comanagement with length of stay (LOS) following spinal fusion surgery.
Design: Retrospective analysis of the surgeons' log.
Setting: Tertiary-care pediatric hospital.
Patients: Patients who underwent initial spinal fusion surgery (n = 759) between July 2000 and October 2005.
Intervention: Hospitalist pre- and perioperative evaluation and management of medically complex patients (from December 2004 to October 2005).
Measurements: Log-transformed LOS and trend in LOS by piecewise regression were measured, adjusting for patient covariates and clustering by surgeon.
Results: After December 2004, 12% of all spinal fusion surgery patients (14 of 115) were comanaged by a hospitalist. Nine-three percent (13 of 14) of comanaged patients had neuromuscular scoliosis, and comanaged patients represented 37% (13 of 35) of all neuromuscular patients. Mean LOS for all spinal fusion surgeries decreased from 6.5 days (95% CI: 6.2-6.7) to 4.8 days (95% CI: 4.5-5.1) after December 2004. Mean LOS decreased more for neuromuscular patients (8.6 days [95% CI: 8.0- 9.2] to 6.2 days [95% CI: 5.5-6.9]) than for idiopathic patients (5.2 days [95% CI: 5.0-5.4] to 4.1 days [95% CI: 3.9-4.4]). Variability in LOS also decreased significantly for both groups. Prior to hospitalist comanagement, there was no change in adjusted LOS over time. After December 2004, there was a significant decline in average adjusted LOS (neuromuscular slope = -0.23 to -0.31 days/month, P = .0075; idiopathic slope = -0.10 to -0.12 days/month; P = .0007).
Conclusions: The introduction of selective hospitalist comanagement of pediatric spinal fusion surgery patients was associated with significant decreases in LOS and variability in LOS.
(c) 2007 Society of Hospital Medicine.